The Russian news outlet Verstka reports, citing inmates, that the representatives of the Wagner private military company managed to visit about 17 Russian penal colonies in 10 regions of the Russian Federation.
Verstka notes that Russia has already created a special military base for training the recruited inmates. It is located in the territory of the penal colony in Rostov-on-Don. There, inmates are trained for 20 hours a day, 4 hours are given for sleep. The first group, which was trained in the colony, left for Ukraine on July 20.
According to the testimonies that the authors of the report collected from prisoners and their relatives, most of the inmates who agreed to go to war against Ukraine are in the Yaroslavl region - about 680 people. At the same time, in the Ryazan region, the Wagner representatives recruited another 400 people. In the Tula and Arkhangelsk regions, 270 and 250 people, respectively, decided to participate in the hostilities of in Ukraine.
Employees of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service and the FSB also take part in the recruitment process. They help the Wagner recruiters to conduct interviews with the inmates. The inmates who consent are checked on a polygraph. They are asked about the attitude to the Russian authorities and whether they can escape to Ukraine.
In exchange for participation in the war, prisoners are promised about 200 thousand rubles a month ($3,305 USD), payment of sick leave and a pardon if they "hold out" for six months.
It was reported earlier that Putin’s friend Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is believed to be the owner of Wagner PMC, is also involved in the recruitment process.